GENEVA — Mercedes-Benz becomes the only carmaker to join as a founding member of the Aura Blockchain Consortium of luxury brands. Other founding members include LVMH, Prada Group, Cartier, part of Richemont, and the OTB Group. Aura Blockchain Consortium’s unique collaborative concept, “by luxury brands for luxury brands,” provides Mercedes-Benz with ready-to-use, cutting-edge blockchain and NFT technology that will raise the customer experience to the next level and further enhance the digital luxury industry. Access to Aura Blockchain Consortium’s technology also enables Mercedes-Benz to explore new strategic dimensions of digital brand development, such as creating its own original digital artworks as NFTs. Digital art is set to become an important element, and one of many use cases of the company’s future, while supporting its strategic approach to merge physical and digital products.

The Aura Blockchain Consortium initiative is the realization of a common ambition shared by its international players in the luxury industry. Its goal is to raise standards in relation to innovation, transparency, and blockchain technology and increase customer trust in the sustainable practices and product sourcing of the brands involved.

Future Opportunities 

The Aura Blockchain Consortium unlocks new possibilities for all its members. The NFT solution platform offers the flexibility for adaptation to the specific needs of individual brands. The Aura Blockchain Consortium is pursuing a long-term strategy toward the metaverse and has accelerated its activities in the development of its technical road map to include various NFT solutions for luxury brands. A digital certificate of authenticity makes artworks unique, thereby giving them a value that would otherwise not be achievable in the digital world where content is often widely copied. Creating its own unique digital art, with the option of dropping them as NFTs, is an area of particular interest to Mercedes-Benz Design and opens the door to a completely new range of products. The in-car digital art experience is a significant next step for Mercedes-Benz UI/UX. The launch of the MBUX Hyperscreen with its innovative Zero Layer marked a milestone in usability, fusing functionality with ease-of-use. Meanwhile, the game-engine-powered graphics used in the one-piece display for the VISION EQXX technology program take joy of use to the next level with an extraordinary visual experience. Mercedes-Benz is elevating this by incorporating digital art as a personalized surprise factor.

Mercedes-Benz is laying the groundwork for its entry into the fast-growing NFT market. Joining the Aura Blockchain Consortium as a founding member now takes this to a new level. Subsequent drops and utilities are in the planning. To bring NFT collections into its cars and turning them into a personalized immersive art space enriched by light and sound is another strategic layer for the company. 

“As a design team, we consistently strive to pair beauty with the extraordinary in all dimensions,” said Gorden Wagener, chief design officer of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. “Therefore, we are pushing our digital luxury ambition with crypto art as a new expression of our style and creativity.  We use digital art to create desire in-car and beyond. Incorporating it into the UI/UX is one future opportunity to differentiate the Mercedes-Benz luxury experience through the joy of the unexpected. It offers exciting potential for our design approach to exceed customer expectations with extraordinary and surprising elements — we call it the X-Factor.”

“At Mercedes-Benz, we are expanding our brand activities to a completely new dimension of digital luxury,” said Bettina Fetzer, vice president of communications and marketing at Mercedes-Benz. “With Aura’s cutting-edge blockchain solution, we make sure Mercedes-Benz, once again, sets standards for the automotive industry.”

“We are delighted to welcome Mercedes-Benz as our fifth founding member, coming from an entirely new sector of the luxury industry,” said Daniela Ott, secretary general of Aura Blockchain Consortium. “This is a concrete step toward our overarching strategy to welcome all sectors of the luxury industry. The Mercedes-Benz name has been at the forefront of luxury innovation throughout its illustrious history. We are certain that the team of Mercedes-Benz will make an enormous contribution to our association and the development of a uniquely advanced technology through the significant opportunities offered by our solutions in relation to our activities related to upstream and downstream solutions, as well as to the ones related to NFTs.”

The previous founding members of the Aura Blockchain Consortium emphasize their delight about Mercedes-Benz joining the Consortium and are looking forward to including them in their unique cross-industry collaboration. As a Consortium, they strive to make blockchain solutions and related technologies easy and available to all luxury brands. Mercedes-Benz is the ideal fifth founding member, with its clear and concrete vision. And, the previous founding members believe that their contribution will be invaluable considering their knowledge of the luxury motor industry. They are enthusiastic about the exchanges they have had so far with the Mercedes-Benz team and they will appreciate their input in all of their workstreams.